Today, I will tell you a tale.
In the laboratory where I work, we have several doctorate students. One of them is a Greek girl from Ioannina (Epirus, northwestern Greece).
Both her parents teach in the University of Ioaninna, she obviously comes from a rich, educated milieu. Politically, she also pretends to be rather on the left, to be socially progressive.
But yesterday, I made the awful mistake to ask her a few questions about the Albanians who used to live in Epirus. You know, this area used to belong to Albanians: no Greek really lived there before the 17th century. And Albanians were the proud descendants of the Illyrians, an antique people. So you can say this area belonged to them for millenias. Until very recently, Albanian folk used to represent up to 86% of the people living there, according to various Ottoman census of the 19th century.
You can guess that when you notice that there is no old churches in Ioannina, only old mosques. As a matter of fact, these Albanians were ethnically cleansed by the Greek government, which killed dozens of thousand of them in the process. Most of current-day Greeks that live in the Epirus area are in fact settlers who came when the Turks expelled the Greek communities from Asia, so that's fairly recent.
And the surviving Albanians that were expelled settled in return to a region called Kosovo, where they suddenly became a majority. So you see: Balkans are shaped like dominos. One people cleanses another people, that cleanses another people, that cleanses another people... It's like musical chairs. The process never really ends, even today.
As soon as I mentioned the fate of the poor Albanians, this Greek girl suddenly got very upset. More than upset, in fact. Suddenly, I had to fight against a twirling stream of violent nationalistic cliches: how the Turks stole the Greek lands, why the Republic of Macedonia should be expelled out of Europe, why Smyrna should be retaken by military force... and so on... and so on. And of course, the Albanians of Epirus never existed at all... they just were a kind of "foreign worthless invaders" that had "false claims"... and so on... and so on.
It was disconcerting: I only pronounced two sentences. It took me twenty seconds (at most), and she replied with twenty minutes of yellings. A real firework.
During months, this intelligent girl was absolutely charming with everybody, including myself. Nice, polite, hard working.... But since yesterday, she doesn't want to say a single word to me. She doesn't even want to cross my sight (and it's difficult, since the laboratory is rather small, and since she's only a student while I'm a teacher).
And since she's only halfway in her PhD, I predict that this absurd situation might continue for a very long time (two years, maybe?).
I think everybody has been confronted to that kind of attitude, one day or another. That's how people falsify history, and replace it with fascistic horrible lies. And because it touches Identity, they suddenly become completely irrational, and possibly violent.
For instance, I should not advise anyone to mention the Armenian genocide in front of a Turk. Or the Kosovo issue in front of a Serb. Or the Jerusalem issue in front of an Arab, or an orthodox Jew.
Even people that were previously nice with you, that you would have considered as true friends, that you invited home several times, could suddenly turn into fierce animals, erupting with torrents of sheer hatred. Even the most sympathetic hippie-like pacifist militant could suddenly turn into a kind of far-right militiaman.
So my question could be: have you already experienced a similar tale?
How could you explain the underlying mechanism?
Do you think everybody has "forbidden questions" you should never mention in front of him/her?
(We ENTPs should learn that more often)